The "Raw Foods" Lifestyle? What's That? That was my question several years ago when I was making my way through life as a "lacto-ovo" vegetarian of 12 years, which means that I ate eggs and dairy, but no meat.
It was a good life, I thought. I was 20-30 pounds overweight, give or take. My blood pressure, though not terribly high, was well controlled by three medications that I took daily. I rode my bike, even when my knees bothered me, swam regularly, had regular sessions of yoga, and worked out with weights at home. I thought that life was OK, and quite normal -- healthy, actually.
An Introduction to the Raw Foods Diet
It was my granddaughter Leah, then 15, who introduced me to a new way of thinking about food and its affect on health. During a Christmas visit with her family in 2006, I took note of her simple eating patterns and her calm demeanor with which she carried herself. Wanting to at least learn something of what she was up to, I read through her raw food books. Because I knew the "loneliness" of eating an unconventional diet, I wanted to at least be supportive of Leah. While her parents encouraged her to choose nutritious foods, Lean was in mayh ways "on her own" as she tried to figure out the path of raw foods.
I also wanted to learn about a diet of raw foods, and not be judgmental about something I knew nothing about. And while the benefits and personal success stories that I read in her books were compelling, I did not imagine making such a drastic change in my own way of eating. After all, I was too busy commuting a long distance to work, and dealing with the stresses of life the way it was. Changing to a raw foods lifestyle seemed too hard -- and, well, maybe too weird, as well. But then I realized that I was on the verge of rejecting something out of hand because it was just too new and too different. Certainly, eating a diet of purely raw foods posed a challenge, but maybe the fabulous benefits I was reading about were worth it.
I tried an experiment. Two days after that Christmas I ate nothing by raw food. The next day, after I realized that I had lived through the experiment, I ate nothing but raw food again. The rest is history, and I have been a very high raw eater ever since, and, I am pleased to say, that it's been a wonderful (and healthy) adventure.
So, Just What are We Talking about Here?
Simply put, a raw and living foods lifestyle means eating exclusively fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that have never been cooked. A very fun and liberating part of the raw foods way of life is that there are myriad combinations of these foods, so that mealtime is always interesting. I was surprised to learn that raw food recipes abound!
But, why eat raw? In my experience , my occasional knee pain disappeared in just a few weeks, even though I was bike riding harder and more often on some very steep hills. In three months I had effortlessly lost thirty pounds. After about one year, my blood pressure had dropped sufficiently that my doctor suggested that I didn't need medications for it any longer.
There are many, many benefits to eating and "living" raw! My success story isn't that dramatic, even when you factor in my greatly increased energy, the need for less sleep, the disappearance of occasional headaches, and my greater strength and improved performance in athletic endeavors.
Raw Foods Success Stories
Individuals switching to a diet of raw foods have reported dramatic outcomes, some of them after years of taking medication and undergoing extensive medical treatments. I have witnessed many of them. A raw foods lifestyle has led to relief from depression, hay fever, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. Other benefits of a raw food diet include lower cholesterol, a clearer complexion, less grey hair, fewer toothaches, a more positive outlook, and overall improvement in health and vitality, and more harmony in body, mind, and spirit. Even more, people plagued with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, all manner of digestive disorders, and allergies have made remarkable recoveries after other fruitless efforts. And the list of benefits goes on.
The trend towards a raw and living lifestyle begins with being open to the idea that human beings can be more healthy and vigorous than we are now. Everyone deserves to be as healthy and vibrant as they can be. It begins with nutrition, and the best nutrition is plant-based and raw!
One way to get started adding more raw foods into your diet is to investigate the possibility of a raw food potluck group. The benefits of such a group abound! Here in Columbia ,Missouri, join us at the Columbia Raw Food Feasters, a monthly raw food potluck where we share food, ideas, and help each other. For further information about Raw Food Cuisine and Health Coaching, visit my Abundant Raw Life website.
Live Well ~ ~ Eat Raw!